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King Charles III's coronation to take place in May 2023

October 11, 2022

Buckingham Palace has set a date — May 6, 2023 — for the coronation of King Charles III. The ceremony will take place at Westminster Abbey in London, almost exactly 70 years after his mother's coronation.

 King Charles III during the Accession Council at St James's Palace, London, Saturday
King Charles III's coronation will come almost exactly seven decades after his mother'sImage: Victoria Jones/AP/picture alliance

Buckingham Palace on Tuesday said that King Charles III will be crowned at Westminster Abbey on May 6 next year. 

The coronation will take place almost exactly 70 years after his late mother's coronation on June 2, 1953.

"The coronation will reflect the monarch's role today and look towards the future, while being rooted in longstanding traditions and pageantry," Buckingham Palace said in a statement. 

Charles, 73, will be crowned in a religious ceremony at Westminster Abbey conducted by Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Camilla, the queen consort, will be crowned alongside her husband. 

The confirmation of the date comes following the death of Charles' mother, Queen Elizabeth II, who passed away in early September at the age of 96.

Already king, but coronation still pending

Charles immediately became king upon the death of his mother, also taking over as the head of state of 14 Commonwealth countries including Australia, Canada and New Zealand. 

But setting up a formal coronation ceremony is a far slower process. In Elizabeth's case, it took more than a year to arrange a ceremony, which took place when Charles was a 4-year-old boy. 

The most important moment of the ceremony, at least from a historical and religious perspective, is when Charles will be "anointed, blessed and consecrated" by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The British monarch is also the head of the Church of England and British royal tradition has it, like most other Christian European royal families do or did, that their claim to the throne is given and endorsed by god.

King Charles III, Britain's new monarch

According to media reports, Charles' coronation is likely to be a pared-down event when compared to his mother's coronation. British media reported on Tuesday that the guest list would be whittled down to 2,000, compared to 8,000 in 1953.

Buckingham Palace did not speak to media speculation about a toned-down ceremony amid cost of living pressures in the UK, simply saying: "Further details will be announced in due course." 

Charles has, however, already indicated that he envisions reform within the Royal Family during his tenure. 

Elizabeth's coronation was the first major TV event in Britain

Elizabeth died on September 8 at her Balmoral residence in Scotland, after roughly a year of deteriorating health. The 96-year-old was the longest serving monarch in Britain's history.

World leaders flocked to London for her state funeral. Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Britain to watch, others queued for hours to pay their respects as her coffin lay in state. 

Similar crowds might be expected for the first coronation in almost three-quarters of a century next year. 

The late queen's coronation was something of a seminal moment for television in the UK, too. It was the first major public event of comparable stature to be broadcast live and prompted many more households to purchase televisions or visit friends or family to watch. 

msh/rs (AFP, AP)